CIO Survey: Firms Adding IT Staff at 'Steady but Moderate Pace'

In the next three months, 8% of chief information officers (CIOs) plan to add information technology (IT) staff and 6% plan personnel cutbacks, according to the third-quarter "Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report."

The net 2% hiring increase is unchanged from the second-quarter forecast. The majority of respondents -- 85% -- indicated that they plan to maintain current staffing levels.

The report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Menlo Park, Calif.-based Robert Half Technology.

Among the key findings:

  • Technology executives attribute hiring activity largely to an increased need for customer/end-user support and rising workloads.
  • CIOs in the transportation, communications and utilities sector are most optimistic about hiring.
  • Staff-level technology professionals are in greatest demand.
  • Reduced IT budgets remain the leading reason for staff reductions.
"Companies are adding staff at a steady but moderate pace," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Managers are watching budgets closely and concentrating hiring activity primarily on customer-facing roles such as help desk and desktop support."

Twenty percent of technology executives expect to add a mix of full-time and contract or project workers in the third quarter, according to Robert Half Technology. When hiring full-time staff, nearly nine in 10 CIOs surveyed (88%) plan to recruit IT professionals at the staff level (up to five years of experience). Twenty percent of CIOs said they plan to hire at the manager, senior manager or director level. CIOs were allowed multiple responses.

Thirty percent of executives cited the increased need for customer/end-user support as the primary factor driving hiring demand, followed by rising workloads at 27%. Technology executives expecting to decrease staff in the third quarter said the top reason is reduced IT budgets, with 41% of the response. 37% cited companywide layoffs, and 14% said new IT projects are being put on hold.

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